Who the Clix? is a series of articles featuring information on comic book characters that have been made into figures for the popular tabletop game Heroclix. These articles are meant to help Heroclix players learn more about the characters behind their favorite pieces.
Today we look at the evil versions of the fabled Justice League: The Crime Syndicate
Appearances in Heroclix: Justice League Trinity War, Justice League, Origin, Collateral Damage, Legacy
First Appearance: Justice League of America #29
Notable Members: Ultraman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick, Power Ring, Owlman
Note: The Crime Syndicate has appeared in numerous forms over the years with some common traits. This article will give a rough outline of each appearance.
Crime Syndicate of America
The first CSA came from an Earth-Three where history was reversed from what we knew (for example: Christopher Columbus discovered Europe). It was not superheroes that emerged first, but supervillains who then went on to form the Crime Syndicate. Having grown bored with how easily they were able to commit crimes and basically do whatever they wanted, the CSA were excited to discover the existence of Earth-One and Earth-Two. Ultraman discovered these worlds with Ultra-Vision, an enhanced sight that let him peer through the multiverse after being exposed to a massive chunk of kryptonite.
The CSA traveled to Earth-2 and battled the JSA, being initially defeated by the heroes. However, with the saying of “Volthoom” both the CSA and JSA were transported back to Earth-3 where the CSA had the advantage and were able to imprison the heroes. After cheating to win, the CSA wanted to battle the JLA on Earth-2, feeling that because it was not the native Earth of either group, it would be a more even and therefore challenging battle. However, the JLA was able to best the CSA by giving them exactly what they always wanted: more power. In fact, more power than any of the members could control. With the CSA defeated, the JLA freed the JSA and imprisoned the villains in an unbreakable bubble placed in a limbo dimension between the Earths, in hopes that it would keep the CSA from causing more damage.
Since then, members of the Syndicate would manage to escape and battle the heroes of Earth-1 and Earth-2. They battled Captain Comet, the Supermen of the heroic Earths, as well as the JLA and All-Star Squadron in a time traveling caper that involved Per Degaton. This Crime Syndicate met its end during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
A later version of the original CSA, calling themselves the Crime Syndicate, came from an anti-matter universe (much like the Qwardians). This group controls their world through ineffectual governments and also seem to have a “reversed” form of history like the originals. The anti-matter Crime Syndicate’s motto is “Cui Bono?” (Who profits?). This group is also different in that if a member of either universe crosses over, they have only 24 hours to return to their home. If they fail to do so, their counterpart will be sent back in their place.
Later, a super-baby appears and draws together Superman, Ultraman, Superwoman and Owlman. The villains believe the baby is the offspring of Ultraman and Superwoman. At this point, Owlman wants to kill the baby out of jealousy, Ultraman wants to raise it as an protege and Superman wants to save it to give it a chance as a normal life. However, all these plans end when Superwoman arrives and tells them she never gave birth. It is at this point they discover that this baby is actually a reborn Brainiac from the Anti-Matter universe. Superman and the Crime Syndicate manages to disperse Brainiac’s sentience, leaving the villains to return to their world.
The Crime Syndicate later goes on to lay waste to the planet Qward out of boredom. They then travel to the matter universe to attack the JLA because they believe the heroes have done something to tamper with their universe. While the Crime Syndicate is attacking the Earth, the Qwardians use a massively powerful weapon called the Void Hound to hunt them down. The JLA and Crime Syndicate team up against the Void Hound, eventually having to use the Construct to remove the AI of the weapon. With the weapon defeated, the Crime Syndicate feel as though they owe the JLA a favor. And in their world, repaying a favor is the only golden rule. So, the Crime Syndicate agrees to return home in repayment of that favor. Unfortunately, they discover that during their time away, the Qwardians have invaded Earth and destroyed their empire.
Later, the Crime Syndicate regains control of their earth and begin abducting people from the multiverse to use as slave labor to rebuild their infrastructure. When the Syndicate is defeated, the anti-matter Earth again falls into chaos. Some time later, the Crime Syndicate align with Doctor Impossible to try and create a machine to resurrect the dead. They had hoped they could resurrect their Luthor and force him to undo the damage he had done to their world. However, just as they were to begin the process, Doctor Impossible betrayed them and attempted to resurrect Darkseid rather than Luthor. Neither villain is returned, however, and instead a new powerful villain named Omega Man is created. Though the Omega Man seems impossibly powerful, he is eventually defeated with a briefly resurrected Luthor.
Crime Society of America
During the rampage of Monarch and Superman-Prime, a Crime Society of America briefly appears. Little is known of these beings. However, they number among them the standard five members as well as mirror versions of Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Wildcat, Black Canary, Hawkwoman, Stargirl, Spectre, Zatanna, Supergirl, Wonder Girl, and Booster Gold.
All these characters are presumed dead when their reality (Earth-51) is destroyed.
Crime Syndicate of America (New 52)
At the end of Trinity War, the leader of the Secret Society revealed he was not actually the “Outsider” but Alfred Pennyworth from Earth-3. Using Pandora’s Box, he opens a portal to Earth-3 and brings his masters, the Crime Syndicate, through. They attack the already weakened Justice League and claim ownership of Earth-Prime.
This version of the Syndicate includes Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, Johnny Quick, Power Ring, Deathstorm, Sea King (who died during the trip to Earth), Atomica and Grid (a virus that hijacked Cyborg’s prosthetic parts). This group quickly attempts to unite the villains of Earth-Prime under their rule only to have Power Ring fall to Sinestro. The ring also sends a pulse out to the multiverse, which seems to make the Syndicate fear that the creature that destroyed Earth-3 will now find them on Earth-Prime.
Meanwhile, Batman has managed to recruit Luthor, Catwoman, Bizarro, Sinestro, Deathstroke, Black Adam, Captain Cold and Black Manta as a new “Justice League.” The group assaults the Watchtower, which is under Syndicate control, in an effort to defeat the villains. While Luthor and Batman set about defusing a bomb linked to Dick Grayson’s heartbeat (which includes the temporary death of Batman’s former sidekick), the other members of the group free the Syndicate’s hooded prisoner: Alexander Luthor, Sr.
Alexander Luthor Sr yells, “Mazahs” and reveals himself as a Earth-3 Shazam. He quickly kills Johnny Quick, who had been severly injured by Captain Cold, and takes his power. It is likely that this is what Luthor did to the original Mazahs on Earth-3. Mazahs also kills Deathstorm, taking the villain’s power before attacking Bizarro and Earth-Prime’s Lex Luthor. Though Prime Luthor is easily overpowered, by shouting the magic word he is able to transform Sr. back into his mortal form. With the Earth-3 Luthor temporarily weakend, Prime Luthor is able to kill him. The remainder of the Crime Syndicate are killed by Luthor or imprisoned, with only Owlman managing to escape. However, the remaining members remain under threat of the creature that destroyed Earth-3: the Anti-Monitor.